Teotihuacan is situated in the central section of the Valley of Teotihuacan. The valley is in the northeastern part of the Basin of Mexico, a plateau over 2,000 meters high with a temperate semiarid climate. The later Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, grew up about 700 years after the collapse of Teotihuacan 60 km southwest on an island in the shallow lakes that spread in the Basin at that time. Tenochtitlan was destroyed by the Spaniards in the 16 th century. Modern Mexico City, which was built on the Aztec city, now extends far beyond the lake bed; now largely drained.
Teotihuacan interacted with many other Mesoamerican centers. Its strong influence was felt particularly after the 4th century in distant religious centers, like Monte Albán, Kaminaljuyú, Tikal, and Copán. Teotihuacan-type obsidian objects, ceramics, architecture, and other symbolic items have often been found in these foreign centers, while at Teotihuacan, raw materials and exotic artifacts of different kinds, transported from regional centers, have been discovered in graves, caches, and fills in the city. Although the forms of interaction with these regional centers have not been well-understood, the data indicate that there were well-developed trading systems in Mesoamerica, and that Teotihuacanos economically, politically, and ideologically interacted for centuries with many regional centers well beyond the Basin of Mexico.